By Derek Venegas
“Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ” is a clever fusion of Taiwanese style hotpot and Korean BBQ paired with the explosive and pungent properties of Chinese Szechuan style cuisine.
Hotpot is a traditional Chinese way of cooking soup that promotes family style interaction. Usually a large portion of broth is cooked prior to a meal. Once everyone is seated, the broth is poured into a large bowl in the middle of the table that has a flame that keeps the broth boiling. Various meats, vegetables, and fish are served sliced and thrown into the bowl.
There is a sign on the door that is written in Mandarin and says, “$9.99.” The price refers to the amount for the all you can eat hot pot. For $9.99, it is well worth the parking fiasco.
Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ is a place for real foodies, and not people looking for aesthetics. The décor inside is quite dingy, but the waiters and waitresses wear tuxedo shirts. Although inside of the restaurant is dull, the food definitely makes up for the white walls and squeaky chairs.
The menu is a little ticket that is written in both Mandarin and English. The customer checks off which items on the ticket they want for the hotpot. The first thing to do is chose 1 of 3 soup broths. They also allow the costumers to split the pot and chose two broths.
There are about 25 items to choose from ranging from shellfish to tofu to add to the broth.
The best items on the menu were sliced lamb, tong ha (Chinese bitter greens) and fish balls. The most difficult item to eat on the menu was the noodles. Noodles are hard to pick up in a large bowl of boiling soup.
The food is so good at Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ that it is very hard to stop eating. Wear stretchy pants and a big shirt when going to eat there. The waiters must be evil, because they encourage to you eat more and more to maximize the, “all you can eat,” experience. Gluttony and hotpot go hand in hand.
The best way to share a different culture with members of a community is through food. Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ is just one of the many benefits living in a diverse community. A language barrier is never a good excuse to miss out on such a beautiful experience like Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ.
“Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ” is located at 111 North Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, Mon-Sun 11 am to 1 am in the Atlantic Place Shopping Center. Parking is difficult to acquire.